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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jr. tennis players triumph anew

The CNMI Junior Tennis Team and coach Jeff Race pose for a photo for TAGA Sports late this year. (Roselyn B. Monroyo) The CNMI’s junior tennis players experienced the sweet taste of success anew in 2013.

The Commonwealth bets extended their reign in the 2013 North Pacific Regional Championships (formerly known as the North Pacific Qualifying Tournament) held on Saipan in June, dominating players from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Guam.

The Jeff Race-coached CNMI Team swept the singles crowns in the annual tournament with Thea Minor and Jake Lee clinching the U18 championships, Chris Cajigan and Negahr Rastguiy taking the U15 titles, and Carol Lee and Michael Ren bagging the U12 plums. The host lorded it over, too in the doubles competition.

With the CNMI winning top honors in the regional tournament for the nth time, majority of its players earned slots on the North Pacific Team that traveled to Fiji in August to compete in the 2013 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships.

In the POJC, Race’s wards continued their impressive showing. The squad, which was composed of Lee, Ren, Rastguiy, Cajigan, Minor, Lee, Tania Tan, Robbie Schorr, Tammy Ackerman, Moris Villanueva, Tommy Choi, Amami Sakano, and Mikayla Lopez, gained eight semis berths in the singles division and all six finals berth in the doubles.

Lee won the gold medal in the girls U12 singles and had another one in the doubles after teaming up with Tan. The CNMI nailed four more gold medals in the doubles competition.

Besides its success in the North qualifier and POJC, the CNMI earned an early feat in May when it hosted a Junior ITF ranking event for the first time. Dubbed as the IT&E Northern Marianas Open Junior Championships, the U18 competition drew players from Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, U.S., China, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa, Germany, Guam, and Australia.

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